What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth

Was there ever a time when charity could actually replace government welfare?

Joni Ernst
(Image credit: (David Greedy/Getty Images))

Joni Ernst, a Senate candidate from Iowa, has been hailed as the GOP’s latest "breakout star." She has a lot of the qualities past Republican women have utilized to great avail, including the small-townish, folksy appeal of Sarah Palin, and the churchgoing wholesomeness of Michele Bachmann. But the same perks often mean the same pathologies, and this is certainly true in Ernst's case. Speaking last week to Iowan supporters, Ernst remarked upon ObamaCare:

[W]e rely on government for absolutely everything. And in the years since I was a small girl up until now into my adulthood with children of my own, we have lost a reliance on not only our own families, but so much of what our churches and private organizations used to do. They used to have wonderful food pantries. They used to provide clothing for those that really needed it. But we have gotten away from that. Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything. [Ernst]

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